Radiology and imaging specialists from all university centres in Romania and Europe meet in Craiova to discuss the latest developments in the field
In this interview, prof. univ. dr. Ioana Gheonea makes a preview of the Congress for Radiology and Imaging which takes place in Craiova on September 21-24, with Siemens Healthineers Romania support.
This year, Craiova is the gathering point for specialists in the field of radiology and imaging from all university centres in Romania and Europe, who will meet, share knowledge and discuss the latest developments and trends in the field.
“It's indeed an exciting time for our field because today, Romania has integrated state-of-the-art imaging modalities such as functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI). These techniques enable us to gain deeper insights into the functioning and structure of tissues and organs, aiding in early disease detection and precise treatment planning,” says prof. univ. dr. Ioana Gheonea, president of the Society for Radiology and Medical Imaging in Romania, who organizes the congress.
“Together with our strategic partner Siemens Healthineers, this year’s congress will unveil the latest developments and innovations in the field, such as: Photon Counting technology, Remote Scanning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Integration. Romania's medical community is actively exploring the potential of AI in radiology. AI-powered algorithms assist radiologists in detecting and diagnosing various conditions with higher accuracy, reducing interpretation time, and providing more personalized patient care,” she explains.
In this interview, prof. univ. dr. Ioana Gheonea also talks about:
- The latest developments and technologies to be discussed at the Congress for Radiology and Imaging
- The adoption of these technologies in Romania
- How AI is impacting this field
- The benefits these technologies bring for patients
- The perspectives in the Radiology and Imaging field for the next years
This year’s Congress for Radiology and Imaging taking place in September (21-24, Craiova) brings forward the latest technologies in this field. What are the latest discoveries that Romania also benefits from?
Ioana Gheonea: After 20 years, the National Congress of Radiology & Imaging is brought back to Craiova, this congress being a valuable opportunity for radiology professionals to meet, share knowledge and discuss the latest developments and trends in the field.
2023 is the year in which the European Society of Radiology (ESR) embraces and invites the Romanian Society of Radiology and Medical Imaging to present the latest developments in Romanian imaging at the European Congress of Radiology, held in Vienna. Thus, a novelty this year is the pre-congress course, ESOR VISITING PROFESSORSHIP PROGRAMME, made with the help of the European Society of Radiology, which will have prominent personalities of international radiology as guests, Prof. Regina Beets-Tan, Prof. Marc Zins, Prof. Valerie Villgrain.
This year, Craiova gathers many specialists in the field of radiology and imaging from all university centres in Romania and Europe, so the congress will include a wide range of presentations and sessions, including plenary sessions, educational sessions, scientific sessions and poster presentations.
It's indeed an exciting time for our field because today, Romania has integrated state-of-the-art imaging modalities such as functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI). These techniques enable us to gain deeper insights into the functioning and structure of tissues and organs, aiding in early disease detection and precise treatment planning. Together with our strategic partner Siemens Healthineers, this year’s congress will unveil the latest developments and innovations in the field, such as: Photon Counting technology, Remote Scanning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Integration.
Romania's medical community is actively exploring the potential of AI in radiology. AI-powered algorithms assist radiologists in detecting and diagnosing various conditions with higher accuracy, reducing interpretation time, and providing more personalized patient care.
This year is a special year for Romanian Radiology due to the ESR meets Romania special session at the European Congress of Radiology in which Romanian experts presented the latest innovation in our national imaging. The essence of flight in the cycle of life was the title of this special session and one of the topic was about AI in Romania. Prospecting the market for the use of AI in Romania, an increase in the software used in imaging in the last 3 years was evident, with marked applicability especially in the evaluation of pulmonary, cranial, and bone imaging.
However, it's important to note that while AI holds great promise in radiology, it's not meant to replace radiologists but rather to assist them. Radiologists provide crucial clinical expertise and contextual understanding that AI currently lacks. Additionally, the ethical considerations around patient privacy, data security, and the validation of AI algorithms must be carefully addressed.
The integration of AI into radiology requires collaboration between computer scientists, radiologists, and medical professionals to ensure that AI solutions are accurate, safe, and effective in improving patient care.
Romania has embraced minimally invasive interventional radiology techniques. These procedures offer patients less discomfort, quicker recovery times, and reduced hospital stays compared to traditional surgical approaches. It's encouraging to see that many of my colleagues have recognized the benefits of these techniques. This approach aligns with the global trend toward more patient-friendly and effective medical interventions. However, it's important to note that not all medical conditions can be treated using minimally invasive techniques, and the suitability of these procedures depends on various factors, including the patient's condition and the expertise of the medical team.
As with any medical advancement, ongoing training, quality control, and adherence to best practices are crucial to ensure the safety and effectiveness of these procedures.
Collaborations between Romanian radiologists, medical physicists, and other healthcare professionals have led to innovative research projects. These initiatives drive the development of novel imaging methods and enhance our understanding of various diseases. As the President of the Romanian Society of Imaging and Radiology, I'm proud to say that our country is dedicated to staying at the forefront of radiology advancements. The National Congress for Radiology and Imagistics provides an excellent platform for sharing and exchanging knowledge, fostering international collaborations, and propelling the field forward.
Is Romania keeping up with the latest technologies in Imaging? What could be improved?
Ioana Gheonea: I appreciate the opportunity to discuss our country's efforts and areas for improvement in this regard. Romania is indeed making significant strides in keeping up with the latest technologies in imaging and radiology. Our medical community recognizes the importance of staying at the forefront of advancements to ensure the best possible patient care and outcomes. That is why in the last year a lot of premiers were communicated in regard to technology all over the country. Romanian healthcare institutions have been proactive in adopting state-of-the-art imaging technologies. Advanced modalities such as high-resolution MRI, CT scanners, and digital radiography are widely available, enabling more accurate diagnoses and treatment planning.
As the President of the Romanian Society of Radiology and Imaging, I can confidently say that Romania has been making significant strides in keeping up with the latest technologies in imaging. Our society, along with various research institutions, medical centres, and professionals, has been actively engaged in the adoption and advancement of imaging technologies.
We have seen promising developments in areas such as medical imaging, image processing, and computer-aided diagnostics. Romania's medical professionals and researchers have been at the forefront of innovative practices, contributing to improved patient care and diagnostic accuracy.
As I mentioned before, Romania is embracing the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in radiology. AI-powered tools assist radiologists in analysing complex data, enhancing efficiency, and enabling early disease detection. This integration has the potential to revolutionize how we interpret medical images and make clinical decisions.
Romanian medical professionals are actively participating in training programs and workshops to stay updated on the latest imaging techniques and technologies. Continuous medical education plays a crucial role in ensuring that our healthcare workforce remains skilled and informed.
Also, in the fast-evolving landscape of medical imaging technologies, a well-crafted regulatory framework balances innovation and patient safety. It provides the necessary guidance for healthcare providers, researchers, and technology developers to work together in delivering the best possible care while upholding ethical standards and protecting patient interests.
In Romania, there are several areas that could be improved in the radiology and imaging medical sector, particularly in terms of infrastructure. Enhancing the infrastructure can lead to better patient care, faster diagnoses, and improved overall efficiency: modern equipment and facilities, equitable distribution to ensure that advanced imaging equipment is accessible not only in major urban centres, but also in rural and underserved areas is vital. This promotes equal access to healthcare services across the country. Increasing the number of imaging centres and departments and also human medical resources can help alleviate waiting times for appointments and procedures. This is particularly important for time-sensitive cases. Designating research and innovation centres within radiology departments can encourage the development of new imaging techniques and technologies tailored to local healthcare needs. Collaboration between public healthcare institutions and private companies can expedite the acquisition of modern equipment and contribute to infrastructure development.
Last but not least, adequate funding allocation to healthcare, specifically for radiology and imaging, is essential to support infrastructure improvements.
By addressing these areas, Romania can enhance its radiology and imaging infrastructure, ensuring better healthcare outcomes for its citizens and promoting the growth of the medical sector.
As a medical professional and the President of the Romanian Society of Radiology and Imaging, I am committed to advocating for these improvements. By prioritizing these areas, we can elevate the quality of healthcare in Romania and provide our patients with the best possible medical imaging services.
We live in a time when technology and AI is put to work to make medicine more and more effective, to help doctors in the medical act and patients as well. How do Romanian doctors stay up to date with technology? Do they need constant training?
Ioana Gheonea: Indeed, staying up to date with technology and incorporating AI into medicine is crucial for improving healthcare outcomes. In Romania, as in many other countries, doctors and medical professionals recognize the importance of continuous training and education to keep pace with the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.
Romanian doctors participate in CME programs to update their knowledge and skills. These programs cover various topics, including new technologies, advancements in medical treatments, and changes in medical guidelines. Medical conferences such as the Romanian Congress of Radiology and Imaging, Summer School in Radiology and workshops are organized regularly, providing opportunities for doctors to learn about the latest advancements in their field, including the integration of technology and AI. Many doctors utilize online platforms, webinars, and virtual conferences to access educational content conveniently. These platforms often offer courses on technology, AI, and their applications in medicine. Doctors often collaborate with medical technology companies and vendors, who provide training on how to operate and integrate new medical equipment and software.
Membership in medical societies, such as SRIM, and organizations offers doctors a holistic approach to staying informed about technological advancements in healthcare. It's a powerful way for medical professionals to connect, learn, and contribute to the ongoing development of medical technology and its positive impact on patient care.
And how about medicine students? Are they prepared to use technology in their daily activities?
Ioana Gheonea: In an era defined by rapid technological advancements, the preparation of medical students to effectively utilize technology in their daily activities is a paramount concern. Today's medical education recognizes the critical role that technology plays in modern healthcare, and efforts are underway to ensure that aspiring physicians are well-prepared to harness these tools for the betterment of patient care and medical practice.
Medical schools are increasingly integrating technology into their curricula to equip students with essential digital skills. Students are introduced to various imaging techniques and diagnostic tools early in their education. They learn to interpret medical images, collaborate with radiologists, and understand how these technologies aid in accurate diagnoses and treatment planning.
The University of Medicine and Pharmacy Craiova has a modern infrastructure including an Applied Simulation Center with the aim of improving the quality of the educational infrastructure and practical skills of students, through the purchase of simulators and high-performance equipment. The University is also equipped with a computerized library with access to a documentary fund of 70,000 volumes, books and periodicals, and the library's active fund can be consulted by browsing the online catalog.
SRIM stands at the forefront of shaping the future of healthcare by empowering emerging talents within the radiology and medical imaging industry commitment to cultivating rising stars is evident through its multifaceted programs designed to provide unparalleled training, technology access, and hands-on practice, thus ensuring a high standard of expertise and care in the field.
For example, SRIM Summer School initiative exemplifies the organization's dedication to excellence in radiology and imaging. By offering 50 free invitations, covering logistical needs and collaborating closely with residency coordinators, SRIM Summer School 2023 equipped the residents with the knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to excel and drive the field forward. This initiative echoes SRIM's commitment to not only today's practitioners but also to the promising leaders of tomorrow.
How can private companies support the educational process for Radiology and Imagistics specialists?
Ioana Gheonea: The private sector plays a crucial role in supporting the educational process for Radiology and Imaging specialists through a range of initiatives that foster professional development, knowledge enhancement, and skill-building within the field.
Companies should establish scholarship programs or provide grants to support aspiring Radiology and Imaging specialists. This financial aid can help students pursue higher education, attend workshops, conferences, and training programs.
I am happy to see companies, such as Siemens Healthineers that are actively engaging in organizing training sessions, workshops and seminars in collaboration with educational institutions or professional organizations. These events are focused on the latest advancements in imaging technology, radiological procedures, and interpretation techniques, enhancing the skills of specialists.
The private sector could also establish partnerships with healthcare facilities to offer students and specialists opportunities for hands-on experience. Clinical internships can provide practical exposure to various imaging modalities and scenarios, helping bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application.
Private companies have the capacity to significantly contribute to the educational process for Radiology and Imaging specialists by providing financial support, educational resources, training opportunities, research collaborations, and practical experiences. By working in tandem with educational institutions and professionals, private companies can help shape a well-rounded and skilled workforce in the field of Radiology and Imaging.
What are the main benefits of Imaging for patients? And for what medical conditions is it most efficient?
Ioana Gheonea: Medical imaging has revolutionized healthcare by providing valuable insights into the human body's intricate workings. This technology has brought about numerous benefits for patients across various medical conditions, enhancing diagnostic accuracy, treatment planning, and overall patient care.
Imaging plays a pivotal role in early detection and accurate diagnosis of a wide range of medical conditions. It allows healthcare professionals to identify abnormalities at their earliest stages, enabling timely intervention and improved treatment outcomes.
Many medical imaging techniques, such as MRI, CT scans, and ultrasound, are non-invasive. They eliminate the need for invasive procedures, reducing patient discomfort, minimizing risks, and expediting recovery times.
For patients requiring surgical procedures or interventions, medical imaging provides precise anatomical information. Surgeons can visualize internal structures and plan surgeries with greater accuracy, leading to improved surgical outcomes and reduced post-operative complications. Medical imaging enables healthcare professionals to tailor treatments to individual patient needs. By understanding the unique characteristics of a patient's condition through imaging, medical teams can design personalized treatment plans for better therapeutic results.
Imaging and Radiology in medicine are vital for tracking the progress of various treatments. Through follow-up imaging, medical professionals can assess how well a treatment is working and make necessary adjustments based on the evolving condition.
Medical imaging is a versatile tool that finds application across a wide spectrum of medical conditions. Some areas where it is particularly efficient include oncology, cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, pulmonology areas that will be covered through all the congress sessions this year at SRIM 2023 in Craiova.
Medical imaging has transformed patient care by offering early detection, accurate diagnosis, and personalized treatment options. Its applications span various medical specialties, benefiting patients across different conditions. As technology continues to advance, medical imaging will play an increasingly significant role in improving patient outcomes and enhancing healthcare practices.
What are the prospects for the upcoming years? Where do you see Radiology and Imaging going?
Ioana Gheonea: The intersection of medical imaging, technology, and innovation is set to reshape healthcare landscapes and revolutionize patient care. As we peer into the horizon, several compelling trends and directions emerge, signifying the exciting journey that lies ahead. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will play a pivotal role in enhancing image analysis, automating routine tasks, and aiding radiologists in accurate diagnoses. AI algorithms will assist in early detection, making radiology a frontline defence against diseases. The future of healthcare is personalized, and Radiology and Imagistics will be at the forefront of this revolution. Advanced imaging techniques will allow for tailoring treatments to individual patients' unique characteristics. From cancer care to orthopaedics, precision imaging will enable clinicians to offer therapies that are specifically designed for each patient's needs.
The integration of various imaging modalities, such as MRI, CT, and nuclear medicine, will lead to comprehensive diagnostic insights. Combining data from multiple sources will paint a detailed picture of a patient's health, guiding clinicians in making well-informed decisions and improving overall patient management.
As technology evolves, radiologists and imaging specialists will embrace continuous learning to stay updated. Workshops, conferences, and collaborative networks will be crucial to ensure practitioners remain at the forefront of emerging trends and best practices.
What are the future plans for the Congress for Radiology and Imagistics?
Ioana Gheonea: The Congress for Radiology and Imaging is committed to pushing the boundaries of medical imaging, fostering collaboration among professionals, and staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the field. As we look to the future, our plans are geared towards creating a dynamic and inclusive platform that addresses emerging challenges, showcases innovative breakthroughs, and elevates the practice of radiology and medical imaging.
We aim to continue showcasing cutting-edge technologies and advancements in the realm of medical imaging. By providing a stage for startups, established companies, and research institutions to present their innovations, we aspire to stimulate discussions on the future of radiology and imaging.
The future of medical imaging is deeply intertwined with various medical specialties. We envision fostering greater collaboration between radiologists, clinicians, technologists, and researchers from diverse fields. This interdisciplinary approach will enhance our understanding of complex cases and lead to more holistic patient care.
Our vision extends beyond borders. We aspire to expand our global outreach, promoting collaboration and knowledge exchange with radiology and Imaging professionals from around the world. This international perspective enriches our understanding of diverse healthcare systems and practices.
In the pursuit of advancing medical imaging, education and patient care, the partnership between SRIM and Siemens Healthineers Romania stands as a shining example of effective collaboration. This alliance brings together the expertise of a distinguished medical society and a pioneering healthcare technology company, demonstrating a shared commitment to fostering education, innovation, and improved healthcare outcomes.
The future of the Congress for Radiology and Imaging is one of continuous evolution and innovation. By embracing new technologies, fostering collaboration, and prioritizing patient-centric care, we aim to create a congress that serves as a beacon of progress in the dynamic field of medical imaging. Our commitment remains steadfast in advancing patient care, professional development, and the transformative potential of radiology and imaging.
About Prof. Univ. Dr. Ioana Gheonea
Prof. Univ. Dr. Ioana Gheonea is a distinguished figure in the realm of medical imaging, renowned for her exceptional contributions to the field. With an extensive academic background and a passion for advancing healthcare through cutting-edge technology, Dr. Gheonea stands as a trailblazer in the intersection of medicine and imaging. Dr. Gheonea's academic journey began at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Craiova, where she graduated with a specialization in General Medicine. Her insatiable curiosity and dedication led her to further specialize in Medical Imaging - Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, solidifying her as a dual specialist in these critical domains.
Her pursuit of excellence in medical imaging reached its peak with a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Craiova. Her habilitation thesis Advanced research in malignant pathology of digestive system based on imaging techniques and also the doctoral thesis, Role of ultrasound elastography in focal breast lesion exemplified her commitment to advancing diagnostic accuracy and patient care.
Dr. Gheonea's impact extends well beyond Romania's borders. She has shared her expertise on international platforms, presenting her research at esteemed conferences such as the European Congress of Radiology. Her collaborations with medical professionals and technology experts from around the world have contributed to groundbreaking advancements in medical imaging.
As an Associate Professor, Dr. Gheonea has nurtured the next generation of medical professionals. Her role in educating and mentoring students and fellow practitioners underscores her dedication to knowledge dissemination and skill enhancement.
A visionary advocate for innovative technologies, Dr. Gheonea champions the integration of advanced imaging solutions in medical practice. Her efforts translate into improved patient outcomes, precise diagnoses, and enhanced treatment planning. She embodies the bridge between medical expertise and technological innovation.
Prof. Univ. Dr. Ioana Gheonea's indelible mark on the field of medical imaging serves as an inspiration to aspiring healthcare professionals, researchers, and technologists alike. Her dedication to advancing healthcare through interdisciplinary collaboration, innovative technology, and patient-cantered care solidifies her legacy as a true luminary in the world of medical imaging.
- This interview was edited by the Romania Insider team for Siemens Healthineers.